Written by Selene Almeron

Insta360 started out doing interesting cameras in the 360° immersive video space (hence the name Insta "360"). However, as that space continues to evolve, Insta360 has made a name for themselves by making interesting and somewhat different action cameras in the last few years. They all feature top quality image stabilization, well designed form factors, and occasional surprises like truly tiny camera systems.

The newest camera that filmmakers should be aware of is the Ace and especially the AcePro, which I've shot with over the last few weeks. While it's packed full of features that are impressive for vloggers (like a nifty AI tool to automatically highlight the most interesting parts of your video to make your edit faster), there are also a host of tools that are relavent for filmmakers working in the more traditional narrative and documentary universes.

We All Need an Action Camera in the Bag

While action cameras are popular with vloggers and action sports enthusiasts, a filmmaker should always have an action camera in the bag as well for any situation that could arise.

While action camera imagery doesn't always perfectly match your A-Cam, they are getting insanely high quality (AcePro is among the best), and sometimes you just need a quick shot from an angle you can't stick your A-Cam.

Have a character diving into a pool? Stick an action camera under the water to the pool wall, maybe a 1-second splash will make the edit. Have a driving scene? Get an angle with a suction cup you can't get another way. Even with traditional production there should always be an action camera in your bag.

8k Capabilities 

The headline feature for the AcePro is without a doubt the full 8k 7680 x 4320 24fps video that it's capable of shooting.

While we aren't quite at the point where we are delivering a lot of 8k video (and even still occasionally find ourselves delivering plain old 1080p video, for broadcast for instance), that 8k resolution is a major feature to have in an action camera. With GoPro limited to 5.3k, the 8k is a nice upgrade with the AcePro that gives you more flexibility with reframing and more variety of imagery.

The Flip Screen

Hands down, more than even the 8k, the real benefit of this camera versus others is that flip up screen. The number one reason filmmakers end up using an action camera is special rigging, either in a weird place or in a dangerous situation. Being able to flip around the viewer to get a full sized image while you rig the camera in a ceiling corner or behind a rear view mirror makes this camera a significant improvement over the competition. There are a lot of other cameras out there with small front facing screens, but having access to the full size image of the back screen flipped over is a major differentiator.

Preview Remote

Do other action cameras just let you pair with your phone? Yes, they do (and you can do that too with the AcePro, of course). The issue there is that your phone is doing a lot of things on set, from control your lights, your timecode boxes, keeping your shotlist, and even sometimes working as a phone. Every time you switch apps the link breaks, and reconnecting in a busy RF environment like set is a pain.

The AcePro has an available dedicated remote for framing, which is a major benefit versus using your smart phone. Having a dedicated paired remote is a huge advantage that shouldn't be discounted since it's pair will lock on and you won't have to constantly be re-pairing the units every time you switch over to Sidus Audio to check your timecode units.

This is one of those times where something designed for another market (sports people who want a view of their helmet camera on their wrist) has a trickle-over effect that is beneficial to filmmaker.

Slow Motion 1080p up to 240fps

We've rapidly entered a world where a lot of shooters default to 4k with 120fps, and you can do that with this camera, which is a huge bonus for cutting into the rest of your workflow. If you are doing an action sports gig, it's nice that your action camera can intercut with everything else.

More exciting for me is the 240fps. That gives you 2x slo mo if you are mastering 120, or if you are doing the far more common master of 24fps, you get 10x slow motion, all in a little hand held unit that can still get pretty wonderful footage.

1080p also is a plenty of resolution for a large number of shots. Folks are obsessed with Resolve, especially in cameras that have up to 8k, and that's fair, but it's important to remember that 1080p is still broadcast quality.

Build and Useability

The Ace Pro is sturdy and rugged, the flip screen is useful for challenging shot angles, and its buttons and interface are intuitive–not too overwhelming. The magnetic quick-release mount is secure and convenient. I often switch between the Insta360 x PGYTECH Multi-Mount and Smallrig’s Crab-Shaped Super Clamp with Ballhead Magic Arm. I think having those two is a good start for on-the-go filming!

Underwater Use

My friends and I had an impromptu swim and decided to try out the camera. We shot 4K at 60fps ISO1600 using the FreeFrame Video setting for us to adjust and play with different aspect ratios for their social media uploads. Initially, I used the 45-degree Horizon Lock, but it became jittery underwater due to varying shot angles. Switching to the 360-degree Horizon Lock kept everything smooth and steady. Although it’s not a cine camera, it managed to handle one to two pool lights despite noticeable noise from the high ISO and frame rate. The flat color profile was beneficial during color grading.


Last December 2023, 40 percent of the footage we used for a short film were surveillance shots, and I wish I had one of these to use back then. For those shots, we recorded with three to five cameras simultaneously and had a wireless video feed for only two cameras. I could imagine the ease of use with the AcePro since it provides a wireless video feed via the Insta360 app.I’ve also been using the AcePro for establishing shots, timelapse, and interior car shots for a documentary I’m working on. Filming timelapses with this camera has been enjoyable, especially using the Dynamic Clouds feature.

The Insta360 app is useful for quick color grading and its Dynamic Timelapse feature for various dolly moves. I’ve been wanting to try the Star-lapse feature, but the weather in the Philippines has not been cooperative (welcome, Typhoon season!).

In Conclusion?

The AcePro is a standout in the action camera field, and a sure sign that there are still innovations to be found in an arena that has felt somewhat stagnant in the last few years. 8k resolution, exceptional slow motion, clear crisp imagery and that flip screen make the AcePro a strong contender to be in any filmmakers kit.

I often think it could work well when you use it as a snorricam for purposeful disoriented shots. I believe it is beneficial for the actors in terms of the weight of the camera. Hopefully, there will be a chance for me to use this kind of shot for another project! Overall, the AcePro is a powerful and versatile camera for filmmaking. Whether clamped on my electric scooter or car as a perfect dash cam, or used for creative film projects, this camera delivers impressive results.

Key Features

Resolution and Frame Rates: The AcePro offers filming options from 1080p up to 8K high-resolution footage, with frame rates ranging from 24fps to 120fps.

Color Space and Post-Production: It provides a flatter color space, which is excellent for more control during post-production.

Horizon Lock on Video Mode: The 45-degree and 360-degree Horizon Lock options keep footage leveled. I prefer using these for a balanced wide-angle view that’s not too disorienting unless it suits the story.

File Formats: While I wish the files weren’t .mp4, I appreciate the customizable export settings (resolution, frame rate, bit rate, and Dolby Vision) from the app.

The Insta360 Studio software on my laptop offers options to export/convert video codecs in H.264, H.265, and Apple ProRes 422.

Insta360 ACE 8K Pro Action Camera


Capture all the action on the road, in the studio, or in the water with the ACE Pro 8K Action Camera from Insta360. This compact, easy-to-use action camera provides up to 8K photo and video capture in a tiny action body that can be mounted and carried anywhere when traveling, shooting action videos, or vlogging.